Until recently, many companies had been unable to attend several renowned international fairs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is what also happened to GF with Farnborough International Airshow in the UK, Germany's IFAT, the world's leading fair for environmental technologies, and Maktek Eurasia, the trade show for machine tools in metal processing, held in Turkey. However, hygiene concepts and protective measures mean attending a fair is now a safer, more enjoyable experience. From 4 to 9 October 2021, GF Machining Solutions was exhibiting at EMO Milano, the most important machine tools and metal processing fair for the division. Over the course of six days, and using a space of over 550 square meters and an 80-square-meter stand, the division showcased its latest technical and digital solutions for the aerospace, automotive, and medical segments, among others, at the fair in Milan (Italy).
The other GF divisions also attend various fairs. GF Casting Solutions will be at the Additive Manufacturing Expo in Lucerne (Switzerland) at the beginning of September 2021 and will also attend Europe's largest high-pressure die casting fair in January 2022, Euroguss 2022, in Nuremberg (Germany). GF Piping Systems will be exhibiting its building technology at Mostra Convegno 2022 in Milan (Italy) and its product range for water treatment and supply at the IFAT 2022 in Munich (Germany).
In addition to customer retention and product presentation, market analysis will also have an important part to play with the resumption of fairs. Are customers ready to start attending fairs again? Are there still limits on business travel? How international will the customer base at these events be in the future? How will digital and on-site fairs grow and develop? All these questions will have to be answered, as while many exhibition halls remained empty over the past few months, prompting companies to search for new solutions – in terms of customer care, new opportunities opened up recently in the form of virtual exhibitions, digital events, and webinars.
It's all about the right mix
All GF divisions are currently working on their own formats to meet their needs and those of their customers. The idea is to develop concepts that will suit their target markets and are no longer dependent on location. Customers and partners from around the world can now reach GF in just a few clicks without having to travel. What's more, entry to fairs is no longer restricted to those who would usually attend these types of events. One drawback for many customers at these virtual events was that the format meant they were unable to pick up and test the products on display. Depending on the sector, this was a real issue for some of the customers of the three GF divisions. There was also less time for face-to-face discussions, something that is very important in certain sectors in which GF operates.
We will have to wait to see how digital and face-to-face customer relationships develop in the near future. Ultimately, each division will strike the right balance. The fact that all three divisions are returning to fairs is a good start.